Album Review of Borders by Emptyset.
Release Date: Jan 27, 2017
Record label: Thrill Jockey
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental Techno, Experimental Electronic
Moving from their usual homes Subtext and Raster-Noton to the Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey, experimental electronic duo Emptyset chart new territory with their fifth album, Borders. Originally from Bristol, England, the duo of James Ginzburg (who has since relocated to Berlin, Germany) and Paul Purgas have received acclaim for their jarring, abrasive techno tracks as well as their ambitious projects involving recording inside a decommissioned nuclear power station (2013's Material) and bouncing high-frequency radio signals off the ionosphere (2015's Signal). With Borders, the duo forgoes digital processing and sequencing, instead creating music from self-built instruments, including a drum and a six-stringed object similar to a zither, as well as analog electronics used to alter and shape the sound.
The adventurous Bristol, UK-based duo of James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas are well-known for their analog-derived, process-intensive electronic music released under the Emptyset banner; they've previously dropped salvos for the Subtext and Raster-Noton imprints, the former of which Ginzburg has a hand in curating alongside Roly Porter and label head Paul Jebanasam.With Borders, they've transitioned over to the Thrill Jockey label, a well-used launch pad for boundary-pushing music, recently broadcasting missives from weirdoes as diverse as People of the North, Rhyton and Jan St. Werner. Ginzburg and Purgas create sonic microcosms derived from rule sets that are at once thematic and contextual.
Emptyset is the London duo of Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg. On Borders, they have turned in a record that just simply destroys everything in its path. This is music that’s been stripped and processed and then stripped again, dipped in acid, and then charged with electricity. I can hear elements of Einsturzende Neubauten, Aphex Twin as well as Hair and Skin Trading Company’s Psychedelische Musique record percolating through a few of the tracks.